Most people consider purchasing travel insurance when taking international trips and vacations. However, it is equally important to consider purchasing domestic travel insurance when taking domestic trips—that is, trips within the United States.
There are many travel insurance plans available as long as you are taking a trip more than 100 miles (150 or 200 miles in some plans) from your home. The miles are calculated as a straight-line distance from your home and not necessarily through the route you are taking.
Therefore, whether you are going to Disney World; taking a river cruise within the U.S.; or visiting Las Vegas, Miami Beach, or New York City, purchasing domestic travel insurance is important. Of course, on some trips, it is not simply worth buying travel insurance—such as a couple-hours’ drive to meet your brother.
Travel insurance plans provide many benefits, as follows:
Trip Cancellation and Interruption
Trip cancellation coverage provides the coverage for your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs if you can’t go on your trip for a covered reason, and it reimburses you the maximum up to the trip cost insured. You or your travel companion may fall sick, one of your relatives could pass away, you are laid off from your job, you have jury duty that you must attend, accommodations at your destination are inhabitable due to severe weather, and other common scenarios are among the covered reasons for trip cancellation.
Similarly, when you are already on your trip, due to similar circumstances, you may need to return home early. That can be covered under trip interruption coverage, which is also based on the percentage of trip cost, and can be 100% or even 150% of your trip cost.
As many things can go wrong before and during your trip that you have no control over, trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits can help you recover your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses.
If you don’t want to worry yourself with trip cancellation or interruption only for specified reasons, you can consider purchasing cancel for any reason travel insurance, where you can get up to 75% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs back. There are certain restrictions for purchase and for claim.
Emergency Medical Coverage
Depending upon your health insurance plan at home, you may or may not get emergency medical coverage when you are on a trip. There may be no provider network outside your home area, or especially if you have HMO, they may not provide any coverage outside the metro area or the state you live in. Even if there is coverage, if there are no participating providers at your destination, you may get out-of-network coverage, which would subject you to higher deductible, coinsurance, copay, and out-of-pocket maximums.
Therefore, emergency medical coverage in travel insurance plans provides the coverage for unforeseen medical emergencies as secondary health insurance. If you have a regular health insurance plan, you will need to file a claim with them first. If they don’t cover at all or cover only partially, travel insurance provides the emergency medical coverage.
When you are traveling, you may be in an unfamiliar location. That increases the chance of you falling down, getting injured unexpectedly, or getting food poisoning. You may also get injured and break your ankle or slip on a slick surface. Emergency medical coverage can help with that.
In any case, make sure to check with your health insurance company first.
Even when traveling domestically, it is possible that you are not taking a direct flight but making one or more stops. That increases the chances of your checked luggage getting lost or delayed. Travel insurance plans can provide coverage for loss of checked luggage or even for baggage delay, provided your baggage is delayed beyond a certain number of hours as specified in the policy. When you arrive at your destination and your bags don’t, you may need to purchase essentials. Baggage coverage helps you with that, as well. Make sure to keep all your receipts at they would be required to file a claim with the insurance company.
When you are taking a flight, you don’t have to do the driving yourself. However, flight operations are not under your control. Therefore, flight cancellations and delays are possible due to various reasons such as inclement weather, mechanical failures, and so on. If your flight is delayed beyond a certain duration, your travel insurance plan can provide reimbursement for accommodations and additional meals, up to the limit specified in the insurance policy.
Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
Some people may think that if they get a medical emergency in the U.S., they can just call 911 and arrive at the hospital in no time. However, if you are taking a road trip or otherwise in a remote area, it may not be possible for you to receive immediate treatment. If you have a car accident in the mountains, even if there is a nearby clinic that can provide you first aid, they may not have the capabilities for CT scans, MRIs, or a surgery center. It is possible that you would need to be evacuated to the nearest place where adequate care can be given. Emergency medical evacuation coverage in travel insurance can help with that.
In an unfortunate event, if the traveler were to pass away, repatriation of remains coverage can help with the getting the remains (body) home.
Certain travel insurance plans provide you the coverage that is relevant for a cruise vacation. E.g., if you are traveling to Miami to catch a Caribbean cruise, and you miss the initial departure because your flight was late, travel insurance may reimburse you (up to the plan limit) for the additional costs that you would incur to board the cruise at the next port of call. You may be able to claim reimbursement of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs for the excursions that you would miss in such case.
Similarly, if your cruise changes its itinerary and you have already booked excursions at a certain place, you may be able to get reimbursement for that. It is better to book the excursions with the cruise company, in any case, to avoid such hassles.